April 1, 2014
Friday I met with Katelyn James (of Katelyn James Photography) for my business coaching session! She has been hosting these for photographers, but has now started doing general business coaching for other types! (More info, here) I’ve struggled finding business advice from peers, because the floral and event design industry isn’t really a connected community like the photography industry. So, when I saw the opportunity to learn from a business & marketing pro, I thought it was a great opportunity to get some insight! I just wanted to share my take on the experience and be a little transparent about things we talked about for those that are thinking about a KJ Coaching session!
But, Amanda, you’re not a wedding photographer?!
Because I am a part of the same industry (weddings!) with a similar client type (brides 20-30 years old), I thought it would be great to get advice from her!
What did I learn from the coaching session?
Honestly, I went to meet with Katelyn not knowing what to expect. I didn’t even make a list of things I wanted to talk about, because I was so clueless where to start. When you do the same processes day in and day out of client interaction, blog posting, etc. you start to not really realize what is and isn’t working for your business. Generally, I knew I wanted to show her my new branding inspirations, talk about offering my own workshops to floral designers, and chat about anything she thought I needed to improve upon! I had been stuck in a funk, not really knowing what to work on or improve – and what to leave behind.
I’m currently in the process of a re-brand of my business (essentially from the ground up – not just a new website!), so I figured we’d just talk about those sorts of things – because I had no idea what else she would try to advise on. I think the coaching came at the right time for me because I have been worrying about some things with my upcoming rebrand. Silly things like 1. will people understand that ‘Anthomanic’ is the old name of what my new business name will be (the new business name is undecided, but essentially it will mainly be my full name – like how photographers and designers do it!). 2. Will potential clients like the new branding? I feel like my current branding is cute and pretty, but really isn’t me. It worked when we were a retail business, but now since we are strictly designing weddings, it really doesn’t work. The new branding is very different. So different that viewers probably won’t understand that it used to be the business called ‘Anthomanic’.
So that I don’t entirely bore you with the details, some topics I got advice on:
Rebranding: The look of my new brand, the website, and including the launch plan (creating the buzz/spreading the word and how to do it). After chatting with Katelyn, she helped me understand how to properly roll out my new branding, and also gave me advice on the renaming of my business. Yes, she may not run her business as mainly a ‘branding expert’, but I think for someone that has tens of thousands of fans, obviously she understands how to foster a community & a following. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do coaching to find out a step by step process on how to get 20,000 fans on Facebook!
Marketing: not old-fashioned marketing/sales stuff you find books on at the library, but current 2014 social media/networking, etc. to a specific client type that I cater to (brides, 20-30 years old). When I say ‘marketing’, I mean things like blogging … she helped me come up with a blog plan and tips of some fun things to blog about that are both personal and business related! For someone that has tons of followers and readers like she does, her blogging advice is like gold! :D *LOOK KATELYN, I BLOGGED ON SCHEDULE!*
What I’m doing right/what I’m doing wrong. Having someone tell you from an outsider perspective that runs a successful small business, what you should be doing more of is so enlightening and like new information to hear! For example: “Brides love it when you do ______, so do more of it!”. I’ve been doing things the same way for years, and after a while, let’s be honest, when you don’t know what makes your clients happy (or unhappy!), how can you change or improve your behavior?! Having someone cheer me on an say ‘Your brides have told me they love it when you _____’, is super super super helpful and encouraging! Then it’s not only rewarding for my bride to get that from me, but knowing my bride is happy makes me work even harder to do the things they love! This could be anything from the way you interact with them in email to the way you talk to them on the day of their wedding! I used to try to stay in the shadows on wedding deliveries, but it turns out brides LOVE when I come to their room to hand deliver their bouquet!
Leading, Teaching & Learning:
Katelyn understands how to be a leader, how to help others, and how to create a ‘group’ that of course follow her, but that she engages with as well and gives back to. She’s someone that others look up to for advice and help when needed. Because my long term goal is to help others and be a part of something bigger than me, I am hoping to create this network. She has great advice and inspiration for how you can get that ball rolling for your own business!
I hope this helps you understand what a coaching session could be like for you – although it will be custom to your business, so your focus of your coaching could vary! Remember, I went into the meeting with no plan! Some pics below from my (very pregnant!) coaching session!